How COVID-19 has altered apartment design, construction

When the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the planet past 12 months, Gary McLuskey, running director of global layout at Charleston, South Carolina-based mostly Greystar, sent a memo to his team with notes about how he imagined the international pandemic would improve condominium daily life.

Eighteen months later, McLuskey seems proper about a good deal of points. His notice to his workforce at Greystar, an international corporation that is also the biggest condominium manager and developer in the U.S., pointed to a lot more persons performing from property into the long run and an improve in bundle and food deliveries, among the other things.

These COVID-19-spawned way of living changes current a problem for condominium developers. Residences are not constructed overnight. Typically, it usually takes a number of a long time to create a project. So what may possibly be well-known these days might not be en vogue a few decades from now when inhabitants start streaming into a new creating. That forces multifamily developers to make a bet that could be pricey: Is it truly worth the chance to create flats and facilities that cater to improve introduced on by the pandemic?

Several in the condominium market say the response to this question is certainly. Some companies, like Austin, Texas-centered scholar housing organization American Campus Communities, are completely setting up touchless soap dispensers, foot pulls and hand dryers to reduce touchpoints, and disinfectant wipe stands and touchless hand-sanitizing stations.

But quite a few of the style and design and advancement variations are even larger than that.

“It feels like soon after having gone by means of this year-and-a-fifty percent procedure [with COVID-19], things may never go back again,” McLuskey told Design Dive.

Below are four means COVID-19 is triggering main changes in what an condominium property could search like in the long term:

Far more overall flexibility

AMLI Household presented place for its people to operate at AMLI Addison.

Permission granted by AMLI Household


As COVID-19 distribute in March 2020, workplaces in cities across the earth closed. That forced apartment dwellers to carve out a space for telework.

Even right after workplaces open up back again up, developers assume that development to carry on. “That notion of remaining capable to function from property has turn out to be significantly a lot more pronounced,” said Joan Sizemore, the inside design director for Texas at Minneapolis-centered architectural agency BKV Team.

To fulfill the demand for far more area to get the job done, apartment builders are building alterations like introducing constructed-in desks. To locate area for these workspaces, developers may slice into other places of the condominium. For instance, instead of possessing a 6- or 7-foot closet, Sizemore thinks developers may remove a few of feet and increase a 30-inch workstation. Or they could lower aspect of the countertop in the kitchen and make it a function region.

The require to carve out versatile, practical locations is also bringing back an outdated place-conserving favorite — Murphy beds. Currently, suppliers, like Boston-based Ori, are offering beds that do additional than just pull down from the wall. They can completely transform into other works by using.

“With Murphy beds, you can flip up the bed and it gives you a desk,” McLuskey explained. “But you can also flip up the desk, which could then convert into an work out spot.”

Shared work spaces

1 Paseo in San Diego delivers tons of room for operating.

Authorization granted by TCA Architects


Occasionally, apartment dwellers want to leave even the nicest units when they are operating from household all working day. 

Even ahead of the pandemic, condominium developers acknowledged that inhabitants wished to get out and perform among their neighbors. With extra telework now, the attractiveness of those people spaces should really only improve. 

Chicago-centered apartment proprietor, supervisor and developer AMLI Household not too long ago purchased a assets that has 12 non-public offices that are absolutely leased with a waitlist, in accordance to McCormick. 

“Some of the workplaces have excellent sights with a lot of organic daylight while many others are on an inside corridor – even the 6-by-6 places of work with no sights are in significant demand as some people are keen to have a focused workspace that is absolutely free from interruptions,” said James McCormick, head of acquisitions and tendencies at AMLI. “The coworking spaces and private workplaces are now a Leading 3 amenity as soon as you get earlier the pool and gymnasium. Some of the non-public workplaces are currently being used as ‘Zoom Rooms.'”

Condominium operators have viewed how citizens utilized these coworking areas in the course of the pandemic and have manufactured changes. For occasion, Greystar integrated a good deal of one particular-individual booths inside of its workspaces as it pointed out the require for privacy in communal doing the job spaces for phone phone calls or online video conferences. 

Builders and architects are also generating multiple areas in which residents can do their positions.

“Instead of having just one co-operating room that we used to the get in touch with the business enterprise heart, we are now furnishing people chances in multiple distinct destinations, no matter if it is about the pool spot or in cabanas, the mailroom, booths or lounge areas,” said Aram Chahbazian, president and CEO of Irvine, California-based TCA Architects.

Finding outdoors

At the Marina del Rey Residences, renters can enjoy new air while working inside. 

Authorization granted by TCA Architects


When people are performing at property doing the job all working day, sometimes they just need to have some new air. If they can access it with out leaving their unit, even greater.

“I believe outdoor house in the device, the balconies, is at a top quality,” McLuskey reported. 

But apartment builders and architects aren’t just limited to accessing outdoor spots in unique units. Regardless of whether on a roof deck, a podium deck or the ground ground, Chahbazian said firms are also exploring methods of opening amenity areas to the outdoor by turning windows into sliding door devices. 

“So rather of that 3-foot-vast door or even a 4-foot-extensive door, you get a 30-foot-vast opening,” Chahbazian explained. “You open up up the entire wall, practically, by sliding panels.”

Of program, savoring fresh new air is even improved when residents can provide their animals. During the initial phases of the pandemic, a great deal of inhabitants adopted animals to fight emotions of anxiety and isolation. When apartment house owners had begun to increasingly cater to pet homeowners in advance of the pandemic, McCormick thinks that the earlier 18 months have accelerated the evolution. He mentioned these pet parks are “no lengthier throwaway area with an Astroturf rectangle adjacent to the parking deck.”

“Some of them [pet parks] are positioned in the most scenic and woodsy parts of the home and in some scenarios are found on rooftops with panoramic sights and pet impediment courses,” McCormick stated. 

Area for deliveries

People can pick up deliveries from deal lockers at AMLI Residential’s AMLI 808 in Chicago.

Authorization granted by AMLI Household


Even ahead of the pandemic, condominium operators have been utilizing bundle rooms and lockers to accommodate an increase in deliveries. But in 2020, working with this avalanche of offers turned an even even larger obstacle as inhabitants began buying from their telephones and computers in its place of going to suppliers. AMLI has extra bundle rooms to deal with larger products and cold storage for food stuff deliveries.

“A property’s system for handling offer deliveries is only as fantastic as it performs all through the holiday getaway season’s tsunami of deliveries,”  McCormick claimed. “The quality of existence for the people is diminished if they are not able to get their package deal in timely and protected methods – and it can exhibit up in rankings and opinions. Package deal deliveries and resident pickup can be a large distraction for an usually really occupied onsite employees that is concentrated on giving fantastic buyer company on bigger-worth requests.”

Matt Shepard, vice president of design at Chicago-primarily based development agency Kinzie Serious Estate Group, suggests offer lockers are not even plenty of to keep deliveries for some of his condominium growth and operator customers.

“We experienced to find a way to reconfigure some of the mechanical rooms and make that house a small much more effective so that we could have an overflow [package] region,” Shepard states.